In recent days and weeks, the term "town hall" has taken on a new meaning in American politics.  Elected officials from all over the country are facing increasingly vocal constituents during town hall meetings, and in some cases, the crowds' passion and energy has gotten in the way of productive dialog.  Of course, personal engagement with constituents is critical to a productive relationship between the Member and his/her community and traditional town hall meetings are an excellent way to connect.  However, there are many other ways elected officials can forge strong relationships in their states and districts while maintaining control of their message.  Telephone town halls are one of the most affordable, efficient and effective ways to connect personally with constituents.  From the comfort of the office, the Member can conduct live streaming, moderated Q&A sessions broadcast over the phone, his/her website, Facebook, YouTube or all of the above.  Click here to read about other ways to promote engagement during your event. 

Making oneself visible, accessible and accountable is a big part of why personal connection with constituents is important, but what happens after the event is over?  A non-partisan study done by the Congressional Management Foundation found that telephone town halls yield significant increases in constituents' perception of the Member's trustworthiness, accessibility, fairness and approval rating on specific issues:

TRUST

  • Prior to the telephone town hall meeting 38% of constituents trusted the Member to do the right thing "all or most of the time".  
  • After the meeting, 52% of attendees agreed with this statement.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • 82% of constituents who attended a telephone town hall meeting described the Member as "accessible".
  • Only 48% of the control group, who did not attend a meeting, described the Member in this way.

FAIRNESS

  • 82% of participants in the telephone town hall meeting said the Member was "fair".
  • Just 52% of the control group agreed with the statement on fairness.

APPROVAL RATINGS

  • Prior to the telephone town hall meeting only 20% of participants approved of the Member's handling of a specific issue.
  • At the conclusion of the one-hour meeting, the same group reported 58% approval on the exact same issue.

What's a 38-point increase in approval ratings worth to you?  Contact us today to get a quote for your next telephone town hall event!

 

We're so pleased to annouce the latest addition to our portfolio of communications and legislative strategy solutions.  Quorum is an innovative, new platform that provides users users access to the world’s most comprehensive database of legislative information ensuring legislative professionals and Hill offices never miss a mention of the issues they’re working on. With unique data analytics tools, Quorum helps users build coalitions by finding unexpected allies. Quorum also provides Hill offices with data-driven methods for measuring their Member's legislative productivity, tracking key issue areas and working with Census data on their district.  For a competitive monthly fee, offices can get access to this exciting new software and benefit from unlimited support plus the same access to our other industry leading solutions like IQ, Telephone Town Halls, Web Design, Voter Data Subscriptions and more. 

Read more about this new partnership in the article published by The Hill!

Over the last several years, we've all watched the role of social media progress from an interesting trend, to an useful tool, to a cornerstone of government communication strategy.  That's why we're so pleased to announce the all new IQ Social Media Center.  At no extra cost, IQ users can access this suite of fully integrated dashboards, charts and graphs that allow you to monitor and analyze all of your social media channels from one place.  All without leaving IQ.  The Social Media Center takes a "big data" approach to social listening and analytics, giving you real time access to key performance indicators on every social channel.  Track engagement trends, monitor audience growth, watch trending topics in your community and gain clear, actionable insight into every conversation.  Like every other IQ app, the Social Media Center is fully integrated with the rest of the system meaning you can save and import every social media interaction for response and further analysis with just one click.  

 

Social media is here to stay as a government communications channel.  Shouldn't your CRM take it seriously? Choose IQ and be empowered to make data driven decisions based on a complete view of your communications landscape.

Earlier this month, the FCC issued a ruling allowing federal government entities and legislators—and their service providers—to dial mobile phones without prior express consent for official business purposes, including driving registration to Telephone Town Halls.

On Tuesday 7/26, the CHA issued a statement confirming this ruling and advising that Members may now begin conduct, or employ a contractor to conduct automated calls to mobile devices.

Here’s what you need to know:

1.  Franking rules still apply.

Automated calls to mobile numbers are still subject to blackout dates and cannot exceed 500 in total quantity within 90 days of an election where the Member appears on the ballot.

2.  No more scrubbing mobile numbers.

When building call lists for upcoming telephone town halls, you are no longer required to scrub out mobile numbers.  If you choose to continue to scrub mobile numbers and call landlines only, our team will see to it that it happens.

3.  Nearly half of all American households are mobile-only.

That includes 67% of young people (18-29), 59% of low-income adults and 56% of Latinos.  This ruling puts those demographics groups back within reach when holding your telephone town halls.

4.  Mobile numbers are still off-limits to campaigns.

As before, government entities and legislators are prohibited from calling citizens on their mobile phones for campaign or ballot-related purposes without the citizen's prior express consent.

5.  Offer an opt-out option at the beginning of calls

When you start including mobile numbers in your call lists, set up a keypad prompt at the beginning of each call that allows constituents to opt out of future calls.

 

To read the full FCC ruling, click here.  Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your next Telephone Town Hall event.

Millennials have taken the political world by storm, wielding serious electoral power for several election cycles already.  In fact, Millennials in America now outnumber Baby Boomers 75.4 million to 74.9 million.  With a voting share of 31%, Millennials’ voting power is roughly equal to that of Baby Boomers. However, Millennials have struggled to impact elections with the force that their voting share implies--studies show historically low voter turnout.  As The Atlantic said in February, Millennials are sometimes considered to be “all throat but no vote”. The question is, how can political candidates engage with Millennials during their campaigns and further activate them on Election Day? Candidates should consider the following tips in order to capture Millennials’ attention and convert political support into votes.

Be Transparent

Unlike other generations, 81% of Millennials answered “No” when asked if people can generally be trusted.  Breaking through Millennials' natural skepticism can be a real challenge.  Candidates should aim to be authentic and straight-forward to gain voters’ trust, loyalty and support.

Appeal To All Ethnicities And Races

According to the Pew Research Center, 43% of the Millennial generation is non-white, making them the most racially diverse generation in history. Researchers have also determined that the 2016 electorate will be the most diverse in history, making it more important for candidates to connect with voters of all different backgrounds.

Connect Online

Millennials are sometimes called “digital natives” due to the proliferation of technology since their births. Studies show that 90% of Millennials have at least one social media account, exemplifying that online participation has become the best way to reach, inform and interact with this generation of voters. More importantly, a personalized, active online presence will establish a connection with Millennials and can motivate them to go out and vote.

Target Your Topics And Issues

One in three older Millennials (ages 26 to 33) have obtained a four-year college degree or higher, putting Millennials on track for being the most educated generation in the country. However, 70% of Americans, spanning all generations, say that today’s young adults face more economic challenges than their elders. Financial and economic issues are just a few examples of the concerns Millennials will focus on when deciding whether to support or vote for a candidate. 

 

More tips on engaging with Millennials and every demographic in your community, get in touch with us today.

The 2016 election cycle has been unlike any other one we've ever seen before in the United States.  One of the many reasons is the heavy reliance on social media among candidates, sitting Members and constituents when engaging in political discussion.  Chances are, the emergence of social media as a major platform in politics is not news to you or your communications team.   With that said, the numbers are quite striking when we look at the power of sharing, online credibility, and how Congressional staff view the effectiveness of social media.  Here are six statistics that illustrate the increasingly important presence of social media in politics.

1.  92% of voting age Americans have at least one social media account.

Social media use among Americans 65+ years of age has more than tripled since 2010.
 

2.  40% of voting age Americans share political content on a daily or weekly basis.

This is in comparison to 54% of voting age Americans who share any type of content on a daily/weekly basis. 
 

3.  57% of Americans trust their friends most for political information on social media.

Only 41% of social media users in America trust political information coming directly from a Member or candidate.
 

4.  36% of American social media users trust traditional news outlets for political information on social media.

18% of Americans say they distrust political news from traditional outlets.
 

5.  76% of Congressional staffers say social media makes a  positive impact in constituents' ability to have real, meaningful interactions with the Member.

What's more, 70% of Congressional staffers think social media has made Members more accountable to their constituents.
 

6.  72% of Congressional staffers believe social media allows their office to reach people they could not otherwise connect with.

This figure is especially interesting in an election year when first-time voters are expected to play a crucial role in races across the country.

 

If your office uses IQ, you already know that our CRM platform is the only solution on the Hill that integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr.  In fact, we're the only CRM on the Hill that integrates with any social media channels.  If you're using another CRM, you may not be capturing these crucial interactions.  Contact us to learn more about how IQ allows you to capture, track, analyze and respond to social media communications.

In 2015, a renewed emphasis on originality has put an end to "cookie cutter" websites and has made quality, creative web design much more than a luxury, but a necessity.  A functional, up-to-date website is a clear and obvious prerequisite for success on the Hill.  Constituents expect a basic level of website organization and usability that allows them to easily email a Member, read press releases, connect on social media, etc.  However, we believe in 2016, this expectation will go a step further.  Constituents will expect not only to be able to consume relevant information on a Member's website, but to be able connect and interact in a way that is unique and reflective of both the Member's personality and the constituency as a whole. 

Read on to learn about some of design trends of the future that our team of designers is ready to put into place on your website today.

 

Big Background, Small Movement, Even Smaller Header

In recent years, home pages adorned with big, full screen photos have become increasingly popular among consumer brands as well as the public sector.  As ISP bandwidths increase, browsers can handle these large images much more easily, allowing designers more creative freedom.  This style mimics traditional print advertising where a custom, high resolution image runs to the edge of the screen with dramatic, contrasting text indicating a call to action.  We predict this trend will continue into 2016 with two small variations:

1)  Traditional headers will be replaced by compact navigation panes that can expand and contract by clicking.

2)  Video/animated backgrounds featuring subtle movement will replace static background images.


Note the compacted navigation pane at the top left.  Click to see the subtle background movement.


 

Flat Design Continues to Evolve

The end of textured, gradient-heavy "web 2.0" design elements is certainly not breaking news to anyone with an eye for design.  In the last several years, "flat design" has become more in vogue thanks in part to iOS and Android's heavy use of flat elements in their mobile platforms.  Web designers love flat design because of its minimalist, classic characteristics and the amount of white space it allows.  This is why we believe, in 2016, flat design will move from primarily mobile platforms to desktop applications as well.  In fact, Google has already hinted towards this trend with their recently updated logo and their use of the term "material design", an updated interpretation of traditional flat design concepts.


Old "web 2.0" Facebook logo (left) and new "flat design" Facebook logo (right)


Micro Interactions

Whether we call them "micro experiences," "mini apps" or "micro interactions" these tiny moments of online activity are here to stay.  A few quick examples of what we're talking about:

  • Retweet on Twitter = micro interaction
  • Thumbs up/down on Pandora = micro interaction
  • Zooming in on a product on Amazon = micro interaction

Clearly, these types of engagement opportunities have been around since we could "like" something on Facebook.  But we believe in 2016, micro interactions will become a major focus web design rather than a slick side component.  The constituent of tomorrow will not be satisfied to simply consume information from a website--they will demand engagement and interaction with the site too.  Micro interactions allow the constituent to customize his/her experience by engaging with the site in small but meaningful ways, slightly altering the path of navigation as they continue to interact with the site.  Snap polls, interactive maps and easy web forms are just a few examples of micro interactions that our designers can build for your website to get you ahead of the curve.


LinkedIn uses micro interactions in several interesting ways.  The endorsement function allows users to quickly and easily interact with their network and customize their own experience while they use the site.

Contact us today to schedule your free web design consultation.  With no charge and no comittment, our design team will meet at your convenience to share ideas for how we can help get your office's website ahead of these trends and ready to lead in 2016.

Unless you've been living in a very deep, very dark cave for the last few years, you're probably aware of the important role social media plays in today's political climate.  Interesting content,  a regular rhythm of posts and thoughtful, personalized interactions are just a few of the ways to generate productive engagement in your social communities.  However, when developing a social media strategy for a given period of time, the "who" and the "why" are considerations that are sometimes left on the back burner.  Recent studies by the Pew Research Center reveal some interesting results when we look at the demographics and motivations for connecting with government on social media.

 

WHO?
It's certainly not a shock to see Millennials at the top of the list with 90% of Americans aged 18-34 opting-in to political materials on social media.  More surprising are the figures for Generation X and the Baby Boomers.  With political opt-in numbers of 89% and 80% respectively, we learn that these two groups cannot be dismissed as afterthoughts when developing social strategies.

WHY?
Now that we know a little more about who is connecting with government offices, let's look at why they choose to engage on social media versus other sources.

  • Speed: 40% of registered voters prefer social media over traditional sources of political news simply because of the speed at which information becomes available.  Elected officials can post reactions to speeches, explanations of votes, etc. seconds after the event happens--far faster than traditional news sources can.
  • Reliability: 26% of voters believe politicians' various social media sites are more reliable for political news than traditional sources.
  • Personal Connection: Social media represents a unique opportunity to showcase elected officials' personalities and to share moments from their lives away from the office.  34% of voters say this ability to connect on a personal level is the top reason they prefer social media.

Election Day has come and gone and most races around the country have been decided.  With that challenge over, the newly elected and re-elected can get down to business.  And, picking the right CRM – IQ – is among the most important investment decisions offices make.   Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. Congress already trusts us to provide for their constituent service computing needs. 

Your expectations should be high. Your CRM should not only help you track constituent requests, it should help you communicate with your constituents via every medium including email and social media. It should also help you understand the demographics and sentiments of your electorate, track legislation, manage events, and ensure delivery of your messages. 

We’ll also help you build and enrich your lists, enhance your data with social media, reach out to constituents via town halls, design compelling websites, and produce beautiful franked mailings for effective communications. 

Contact us today.  We’re ready to help! 

Election Day is only a few short days away and mid-term campaigns are in full roar.  During this time of year, we understand that your staff is focused squarely on November 4th.  Whether you’ll be an incoming Freshman or joining the 114th Congress as a seasoned Member, our team is working day and night to ensure that your system is ready to go the day you’re sworn into office. 

When you partner with the IQ team, you give your staff access to industry-leading IT and communications tools.  Our CMS is the most trusted solution on Capitol Hill and our web design team has built award-winning, custom websites for Members on both sides of the aisle.  We offer comprehensive data files that give your office the most up to date contact and demographic information in your district.  

Equally as important as tools we offer is the service we provide.  Our team of IT consultants is the best in the business and they're based just steps from the Capitol.  With a single email or a phone call, your dedicated consultant can be on the way to your office to provide personal, on-site help in just minutes.  No other vendor can offer that level of personalized responsiveness.  

We're ready to work with you today to ensure that your office is covered from every angle, both before and after November 4th.